I don’t care what anyone says, hot springs are mystical. And it’s no wonder that Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany is considered to the be the hot springs of the gods.
Think about it, you’re connecting with a part of the earth you can’t see. That water streams along deep beneath the rock, soaking up minerals to deliver them straight to you, my friend, so that you can have the benefits of all those healing things like calcium, magnesium and smelly sulphur.
“So what?” you say. “Take a vitamin.”
“But,” I counter, “which is more fun?
When in Tuscany go to the spa
When in Tuscany, you would definitely want to experience some of its famous thermal water. Not only is splashing around in steamy spring water fun, you’re absorbing the minerals through your skin and breathing the water’s steamy vapours into your lungs, so, in essence, you are getting an all-over inside-out mineral immersion rather than a simple vitamin pill shot to the stomach.
Good springs and bad springs
Of course not all hot springs are healing. I’ve been to two that will kill you if you get too close, a toxic one in Turkey and a poisonous one in the Atacama Desert, but the springs at Terme di Saturnia, in the Maremma area of Tuscany, is one of the great ones, created by the god Saturn himself.
Terme di Saturnia Spa for anti-aging
And, as two sisters from Bologna told me as we met in the pool at the Hotel Terme di Saturnia, “Saturnia is the Fountain of Youth!” It’s hard to argue with such a persuasive position.
Swimming over a crater at Terme di Saturnia
The Hotel Terme di Saturnia is built around the natural crater where the springs burble up. It’s like a boxed in hot lake. The bottom of the pool is the natural travertine rock and you can see small air bubbles rise to the surface as the water seeps through the rock floor. It’s so organic! I love it! Oh, and don’t be alarmed if bits of algae float by – according to Italian spa experts, it’s a sign that the water is healthy. Yup, believe it. Algae is a good thing. Who knew?
Spa mud at Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany
And then there is the Terme di Saturnia mud. It’s ‘cured’ in the thermal water, aged for months, and I got to wallow around in it – it’s like thermal water intensified. Really, I should have been born a pig I love mud so much.
Hotel Terme di Saturnia Spa
The Hotel Terme di Saturnia spa is very chic – a Condé Nast award winner – and you can go from floating around on a hot lake-y pool to having something like A Golden Body Treatment that includes – and I quote – “a luxury, state-of-the-art gel of 23-carat gold, caffeine, carnitine, aescin and coenzyme with lipolytic results.” You know, one of those simple treatments.
Italian food and wine – all part of the spa experience at Saturnia Spa
Hotel Terme di Saturnia has a Michelin Star restaurant, All’ Acquacotta. Mark and I ate poolside instead at the huge buffet, and I feel bad because I didn’t find out until later that the restaurant finishes serving at 9:30 p.m. and we were still eating well after that. Piggy Canadians. (Oh, no! Maybe I was born a pig, but it how can you turn down fresh vegetable soup, Tuscan pasta with tomato sauce, roast lamb, desert buffet, etc, etc? Well, we couldn’t, especially when teamed with a fragrant Roccapesta, a smooth Tuscan red wine.)
But fine dining and sophisticated treatments aside, the best thing about the Hotel Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany is the water and the fact that you are soaking right at the source. Hot springs spa-ing doesn’t get any fresher than that.
After the water rises up at the Hotel Terme di Saturnia, it travels down and creates these falls a few km away. It’s a favourite local hangout as you can see (a bit of a circus but free), though if you want the cleanest water, tranquility, deck chairs and – most importantly, nice toilets – opt for the hotel pool. Even if you’re not staying there, you can go for 22 Euros a day – around $28.
Read more: If you’re at all interested in the trouble I had getting to Terme di Saturnia, read Tuscany when disaster strikes.
Want more spa? Read my The Spa and Spa Travel article.